* Nicodemus stared out across the lands from its place on the outskirts of the storm as it had done so many times before, the days and nights nothing to it, since sleep was a pattern that was uneven; it moved about without concern for time. It watched the lights of candled wicks light up the cities, storms that extinguished them and blanketed the world like a momentary foreboding. With flesh like bone and eyes that appeared sunken with only the tiny flecks of rubicund pupils to give it sight, the creature flicked wings, the golden charms that held them from use embroidered with strange wonder, matching the crown on its head. The power it emitted came with the spiraling wisps of crimson florescence, constantly whipping the air as it sat in a crouch. After a time, the creature seemed to become bored, what sounds like the earth crumbling and then force of power raging, it opened a portal beneath it to swallow itself away, to only reappear on the City Gates themselves. Like a bird, it perched on its wall, a quick glance about before it looked into the boundaries, to the people that still moved around at this time of night.
*Sitting on the ground, very near the entrance of the City of Gates, the Storm raging tempestuously off-and-on with the waxing and waning of time, Halekial surveys the constant ebb-and-flow of people, the steady stream of traffic that gushes torrentially obscuring whatever clear line-of-sight that he possesses. Indian-Style, a few paces back from what could be considered the "road", he looks a bit odd, Spring blowing her nighttime breath across his back, across his ears, across this busy conurbation that is bustling with all forms of life and activity. Where alleys watch and walls talk. Where mice scamper and bats flit. Winds toss and flames flicker. Carts. Bazaars. Pitches. Contracts. Hustlers and Dealers. All were here, in this city, in this place. And on the outskirts, watching it all? -- Halekial, with his bright orange hair and eyes, and mahogany skin, his silken robes blowing in the wind. Odd, he looks. Strange, he is. And Time merely marches on, leaving him there to fall into a world of his own whimsy and design. Sweet Oblivion.* worry. If I get too sleepy, I'll let you nkow.
* Nicodemus reached to grapple hands onto the stone it was perched on, holding tightly as it looked over each thing with silence, lingering. It was still growing used to the people and creatures that lived here; it was nothing new and yet it was, having seen so much throughout its existence. Its sights turned from person to building, to cart, to objects that seemed to move from magic and what have you. After a time, it settled its pupils on one particular body, sitting by himself and not doing much else other than that. Head tilted to the side, its wings hushed with a mindless frilling, the charms harmonizing with tinkered movement as it turned itself to begin prowling along the wall. With the arms and legs like a human, it still managed to stalk this way, watching the man for a second more before its hand released the wall and pointed out towards him. A portal would be opened slowly near Halekial’s feet, its mouth a twisted coven of power, cycloning with the burning brightness of crimson, gusts of air sucked down into it as it slowly crept in size and began to threaten his seated position.
*Even in his trance-like state, outside influences and effects can be felt, detected, sensed. Whatever the operative word is. And in this state, there's a deep sense of the shifts in atmosphere and the pressures and tensions that unfurl and fold and whisper with its conniving effervescence. In his mind's eye, he can see it. He can feel it. And as his eyes close, they soon snap open, more a reflex than anything, quickly awakening from the dreamy lull he had fallen into after a time. Gravity can be cruel, but does it all of a sudden deem it necessary to take on a life of its own?? And why, of all people, him? Screaming it in his head, Halekial glowers, his once-bright countenance darkening with the horrible aspect of portent. Yanking his feet up, pulled up as he hopped to a standing position, he sweeps himself back almost in one motion subsequently after, as having galvanized the wind into Good Samaritanship to aid him in his expedient exit! With searching eyes, his gaze is tossed over the shifting sea of people. He doesn’t know he is looking in the wrong direction. When you had nowhere else to go, when at the bottom, there is only one other place to go, and that is up! He doesn't neglect to look down, though, naturally, for it seems that's where that pull had come from. Never had he felt such a thing. So dark. So lissome. So liquid and mindful. Alien, even. Glowing eyes are embered, taking on a volcanic likeness, ashen and earthen.*
* Nicodemus stared at the man without the lids to blink, or so it seemed with the darkness that formulated from each socket. The creature’s face stayed without emotion, and its hand moved with the growing wrench of spread digits so that the portal could cry open wider at a rate of forced measure. Like a gaping mouth, it screamed out to him with its storm of bloody tides, and the creature repositioned itself to perch on the wall with bare toes curling over its edge and free hand between soles, clutching the stone tightly. Why, indeed, had it bothered him out of them all? There was no forward answer to this and the thing did not seem to wish any spoken truths for him to decipher; instead, it continued to taunt him by moving the portal towards him. The people who passed danced about and maneuvered to stay out of its way, a child slipping as the inhaling force of the gateway began to strengthen with each passing moment.
*With the passing of time, that dimensional aperture opens wider, issuing from its maw a malevolent magnetism possessing a pull so great it makes one think of...black holes? With eyes now upon the opening, Halekial can't help but to compare it to that. Is that it?? Who? What? Who or what is doing this? And why?! No one ever knows the when's or why's. Not regarding Life. And Fate. They belong to a higher power and it is too great a concept for flesh-and-blood minds. Of earthly perceptions. And this is no different. He doesn’t exactly get it, but he knows enough to avoid it as much as he can, his moccasined feet caught up in a lightning-quick spirit, gauged to patter away from the madness, Halekial traipsing from the thing with a quick-footedness. Searching, he still is coming up short. But, focusing now, using his supernatural perceptions, detections, he begins to feel an aura. An aura that is soot-souled and incarnadine-inked. Pulsating, yet unmoving. That great presence can’t go unnoticed, unheeded for long, out of these variegated auras that are normal in comparison. He tosses his gaze heavenward, somewhere up above, landing on the gatepost. And resting upon a rock? A ledge? he sees a bird. With a skull for a face and red ink as hair? And it has...horns that may rival Lucifer's! Narrowing his eyes, Halekial calls out to it.* "WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?! HUH?! WHAT DO YOU WANT?!" *His throat seems to be choking back a rage that is threatening to spill at any moment. The raw emotion is expelled and sent in a great wave up above. Did the thing have any ears? If he didn't, the man was intent on getting his point across, regardless. Nobody liked to be trifled with, and if no answer is given, Halekial will be gone from this place before it gets too heavy. Because already he can see he is dealing with a god. Some deity. He is merely a mortal, for chrissakes, and though Halekial is hard-headed at times, he knows when to quit. With gritted teeth, he watches the thing, even from his faraway distance now. Body low, he is ready, waiting. Prepared. Expecting -- the unexpected. And praying to the gods he worships to look down on him, and cosetting Luck, so she can be on his side. All sides of him. *
* Nicodemus watched him run about like a rodent in the streets, and yet he stayed in the general area, not at all showing signs of disappearing into the distance. Turning, the creature snapped its hand closed, the portal slamming shut with an echo of pitched volume that shook foundations. With its fist, balled out in front of it, the creature looked down the length of its arm, the end of knuckled, his facial expression and tone examined and reminding it of why it stayed out of the general populace. With either retaliation to his spite for its actions, or for the way he spoke to it, it called once again on a portal to rip open the seam of existence behind him, the extension of twin fingers inclined, a tear in reality that expanded hungry jaws to bare that same crimson tide, but with less volatile maliciousness as the last, this one expected to swallow him whole, if it could, with the nursing of air, suctioning the world and damning him, it like some god-forsaken digestion of a demon. It wanted to send him through and spit him out on the other side of the gate where less people were, giving it the freedom to go to him without the exposure of other humanoids or creatures getting in its way.
* Halekial can feel the greedy, dripping maw of another reality searching him out. The voracious appetite of the thing is overwhelming, Halekial completely on-guard now. It is pretty much a given that the thing is bored, and has not much of a life that he has to toy with other people for his own amusement. He isn’t sure if it is a he or not. Putting up a shield around him, layer upon layer upon layer, much like an onion, the pull of the portals will have to contend with the very multi-seamed shield, many shields covering him all at once. But, they aren't any shields, for upon their smooth-looking surface are multitudinous energerial hooks, their sole purpose to attach itself to whatever energy that comes into contact with the shield. Once the energy is hooked, even the black-holes and their compressed energy, the shield will be ripped from the man in rapid succession, taking on the role of a parasite momentarily as, once the pull of the portals start, they will hook themselves into the empty essence of the portals and enmesh themselves in their endless makeup, causing them to chomp down on the “prey” and eat upon itself. The hooks that are in them will take on the same effects that are intended for Halekial, about a great deal of them retaining those properties, enough to where they will be multiplied, all with the adverse effect to recoil upon its maker, suctioning the thing into its many holes. Halekial prays that it works*
* Nicodemus was beside itself when its own master did not even faze him; if anything, it made the creature bitter. The portal that had opened behind him eased open as fingers slowly curled, the creature cocking its head to drop an eye downward to see the guards standing about now, watching them, the guards shouting at it to stop what it was doing. Glaring with what it could, the creature turned its attention onto the guards, but looked directly at Halekial all the same. In its own tormenting to punish the man through the people, the creature raised both hands, the portal behind Halekial disappearing and reappearing within the crowd. Having called in silence with its own want and desire, the land exploded with portals that riddled the ground and the walls, the whole time the creature watching him as the portals began to eat away people’s existences.
*All around him is mayhem, the enchanted bedlam luring him to keep his eyes glued to the ordered chaos. Tormenting innocent people, for what?! The Priest of the Light will not stand for it! But, to defend them, he had to first defend himself, and so the multi-layered shield in which he had evoked does not vanish from around him. It's still in place and shall stay in place unless otherwise tampered with or forced away on purpose. And the adverse affects still stand. They say don't let your guard down, and so he doesn’t. Gotdarnit, he can't afford to jeopardize his life, lose his life, all to someone who simply wants entertainment. It just is not going to happen. But, the people! Shaking his head, at a momentary loss of what to do (he knows he can't save them all), he doesn't wallow in the sadness of loss, but merely seeks to rid this land of this scourge upon the environ. And so, Halekial runs toward the gateway, near the bird now, near this thing, and glowers at it. It has to knock it out! How can the land be changed and rearranged if the bird has no consciousness! Corporeality is an appealing thing at the moment. With his own dark intent in mind, he woos the Air, engaging it, almost whispering Casanovan come-ons in its ear, to do its bidding, even in its flighty tempestuous state. And so, with a thought, a whispered command, the air takes on the attitude of sentience, stirring to life, billowing about the thing before twin streams of air whicker out toward the twin coil-tipped horns to lasso about them and whip Nicodemus into the air, only to raise it high enough to where the thing is slammed back down toward the perch upon which it’d be lifted from, whatever stone or rock or material that it is resting upon. As the thing is hurled back toward its home, belly-first, the rocky fabric of its recent perch shatters into about 5 smaller chunks, meeting the thing halfway, 1 at the belly, 2 at the wings, 1 at the face and 1 at the throat. far as fight-fight ...it's.....
* Nicodemus hesitated as he came at it, a curiosity reflected in its face for only a moment till its horns were snared. Rearing back its wings, ruckus with the charms they held keeping them from beating at the air properly, the creature opened its mouth with a silent protest. The wall beneath it cracked, piece formulating around it to be shoved into its form where it clutched at the stone within its stomach, releasing a cry of something near humanoid, of female qualms. A wing ripped, body convulsing as its throat was punctured. A silence fell across the area as all the portals slammed shut, the guards staring up at the thing as flesh like bone shown cracked, bleeding out the vitals of odd crème ooze. Suffocating from the wounds, the creature pulled at itself, teetering till it all but fell off the edge of the wall to the outside of the city. People suddenly appeared at the gateway, screaming and running from the thing, all of which were the ones the creature had sucked into the portals, completely unharmed. On the other side, Nicodemus smashed into the earth with a sickly crack of bone and wings, hands clawing at the ground as it tried to gather its bearings.
* Halekial thanks the gods on the spot, and gives kudos to himself. Surely, Luck is on his side. From the roll of the dice, to the luck of the draw. The mayhem is renewed, a new life given to a once-subsiding turmoil. The madness will not cease, though, as people…act like people in time of trouble, losing all rationale and reserve. Kids are crying. Mothers are screaming. Fathers try their best to protect both mother and child. The homeless lament. Fear, anger, confusion -- all things human and raw – are exhibited all throughout the area. And Halekial is stunned into momentary stupefacation? But, why? He's paralyzed. Not really knowing what to do. He doesn't know what the thing is. What its physiognomy can do, even in its hurt state. But, is it really hurt? Halekial still stays a distance, having the urge to go ahead and slay it on the spot. Because, with the vicious cavity pulling to ingest him whole, he is sure the thing would have had him devoured, broken down like acid does food in the stomach. And Halekial suspects he probably wouldn’t make a great delicacy, despite the fact. Even so, he doesn't kick the “man” while he's down'. He waits and sees. Waits and sees what will happen. If anything. Is it over? With rage, in agony, Halekial cries out.* "You...BASTARD!
* Nicodemus raised a hand to grip at its throat, the vegetation beneath it, soiled with the whiter fluids as it tried to gather itself up. Hearing the man scream at it from the other side of the wall, the creature glowered and hacked, the guards just watching it as it turned from them and began to drag itself toward the concealment of the woods. Not one person had managed to be harmed, simply frightened or confused, but the creature honestly had no intention of injuring anyone…not even the man. Halekial managed to prove to it once more that all these people were the enemy; none of them were worth a thing to it, provided they were human, perhaps, just like itself in some way. A wing dragged on its hinged jewel-piece, belly gored to the point it trickled vitals out. A sudden moan escaped from the creature’s throat, pained by its horrible injuries and scarred mindset.
* Halekial sees the injured thing dragging itself away from the fray, a fray in which he caused and induced, leaving innocent people broken and in mental and emotional turmoil. Probably things they will live with forever. His job is to protect them, this Priest of the Light shining brightly, taking on the very ironic aspect of a guardian angel, the orange-and-gold aura extending into the very folds of the multi-layered shield that is still around him. But, even good men have flaws, Halekial taking on the attitude and likeness of Nicodemus as it sets to give him one last piece of mind. Halekial summons into being what appears to be a hologram of himself, a transparent replica that flickers into existence with the onset of a flame before spanning into a human shape. It hastens after the monster, and with it comes all that is a scourge upon Nicodemus, if it can be so, from the fear that Halekial hopes to induce, if only momentarily, raw emotion stoppering his voice. The feeling of goodliness. The
feeling of determination. The renewed "memory" of the pain the thing felt when the rocks were bashed into its underbelly. The feeling and memory of all that is like a Bogeyman to this thing that could probably feel; All of this comes with that hologram, all those aforementioned feelings, effects, in the single point of a man. Whimsical and dark. Almost like a Nightmare come true. Except, it's so ephemeral. So nimble-footed. And after having caught up to it, chased it down, if the thing would so look at "him", he’d a flash of orange, and then nothing. Like the flicker of a flame, he’d be snuffed. It would all be snuffed. Except the memories. The memory of this night. But with time, even that fades, no?
* Ghennie walks up from the shadows of an alley nearby, blue eyes glowing in the darkness. Having heard the sound of screaming and crying, from another street, she begins to walk, right into the light of the street lamps. Golden hair glitters unnaturally, underneath a sheer veil of a translucent golden hood. Her cape flows around her, blowing lightly in the winds that threaten rains. Her eyes focus on the creature struggling within the street, she quickly gaining on the creature. Not a single fear creases her face, mostly blank of expression, the glowing eyes unable to be read. She kneels before the creature, reaching out a hand to it. With a voice as sweet as a songbird, but as piercing as a blade, she speaks softly to it. "Pain creates a gateway to the soul. Understanding of it can only be one's own." She pauses, her hand almost having touched the creature; however, it slowly drops, after her words. She glances up and around, sneering at those round and about the creature. Her glowing eyes focus back on the creature, illuminating it slightly in blue. “Do you wish to be healed? You need only to say the words. I do not fear you.” She didn’t even give Halekial a single glance, her attention focused on Nicodemus.
*And so it seems that the angel has become the devil, and in some sick, perverted way, isn't that how it always ends up? Isn't that what it wanted all along? Halekial, for a time, became what it most hated. Because he wanted him to feel the same fear, the same torture, the same kind of things that Halekial had felt at the beginning of this night. How the tides turn, and the story unfolds. And all Destiny does is skip through the city on velvet-shod feet, laughing. Moisture in his eyes, the anger that was on Halekial's face, has softened. Tired, the man slumps on a nearby bench, spent.*
* Nicodemus rocked with the flash of a brighter color than her bioluminescence of blue, red pupils shrinking to the points of quill end, dropping to its knees. Another moan of fretful pain was gorged from its maw and a hand came down to press against the ground it had been walking on, staring forward, previous intentions fleeing his mind, his psyche. It hardly had enough insight to notice the other who approached it, the creature heaving with unsteady breaths as more crème vitae poured from its throat and belly, the words she spoke catching its hearing; it raised its eyes to her where it stared endlessly. Exhaustion mixed with the mental stress that weighed on it was too much; the creature eased out to her in a voice of monochromed tonality, flat and featureless, “Heal.” Tongue ridged as it said that single word; it began slouched in on itself; if all else failed it’d teleport itself through its portals once again, but it needed the healing more than anything else.
*Standing in his spot near the gateway, Halekial notes the people trying to regroup themselves in the time allowed. Because, like the quieter, less intense "lull" in a hurricane, the Storm returns, with even more vigor. Halekial isn't sure of it, but you never can be too sure, though. Ghennie hadn't paid any mind to him, but his eyes had shot to her the moment she neared the thing, who was engaged in polite enough conversation with it. She has...chosen her alignment. And that is all that needs to be noted. At this point, Halekial feels the urge to yell out to the crowd, 'run; run in your houses, to your homes, and stay there!', but decides against it, lest they panic; so, Halekial does the best he can, intoning in a voice that is quiet, worn.* "Everyone...." *pause* "go home, lest that monster return. Go..." *breathe* "home." *The shields that were about the man have disintegrated, Halekial no longer able to keep them in place because of his exhaustion. With an outstretch of the hand, he manages to summon a portal that leads to his own home, hand shaking, quaking with the effort; he shuffles into it, the portal itself topsy-turvy, like a warbled, distorted wheel, threatening to fall apart at any moment -- he walks through, the portal seeming to almost close up on him afterwards. He is gone. It would be foolish of him to stay any longer. Never overstay your welcome. And he wasn't in any condition to fight. Not anymore. But, he had done his part, it must be said…as far as the people go. Where they go from here is up to them. But would one bad apple spoil the bunch? Probably.*
* Ghennie take a deep breath, watching the creature for a moment. It seems that she is deciding the outcome of the single uttered word. She tilts her head to the side for a moment, watching the creature, the glittering veil of a hood falling, sliding down over golden locks, to her shoulders. A single solid gold horn becomes visible in the middle of her forehead, the cloak having hid it from view. After a few moments of thinking, she decides it was good enough. Normally, she would have coaxed the word 'wish' from the stranger's tongue; however, how she sees it, it was possible the creature's suffering made it unable to speak more than the single word. Both hands lift before her, still kneeling beside the creature. She does not touch him, not because of his appearance, but because of her own reasons. She closes her eyes, the blue glow ceasing to allow others to see the similarly blue markings upon her face, not a tattoo, what seems like racial markings of some kind. She whispers something in an ancient tongue, something understood only by the archaic and her own people. “Effrego poena.” And so it was healed, and now was hers. Forever, and always*